“Halloween Twenty-Fifteen”: A Review of “Haunt” (2014)

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If I didn’t have to sit down and write a review, I probably would have forgotten that I watched this movie altogether. Haunt is not good, but it is not particularly bad either. Its more like the same story we have seen over and over again, with minor glimpses of something new, but simply not enough to make it unique. The film begins intriguingly enough, with a father trying to contact his dead children through a spirit box-type radio. Its function resembles that of a larger, older SB-7, which is what we paranormal investigators use today.

The first few moments are chilling, and it made me jump once, but after that, even with decent all-around acting, the story is relegated to a tired and over-used premise: we jump to the present, a family moves into a new house, the teenage son (Harrison Gilbertson) falls in love with a teenage girl neighbor (Liana Liberato), she has her own inner demons, they play around with the aforementioned spirit contact device, unexplainable things begin to go awry in the house, they consult the previous owner (Jacki Weaver), discover dark secrets about the location’s past, characters get possessed. Done.

Haunt is well-shot and edited, and comes across as professional, but the weak story really detracts from the finished product. I applaud the director Mac Carter for giving us a bleak and unhappy ending, but he also leaves us with a lot of questions and too many loose ends. Normally, I write about how a film could have used a cut or two, but perhaps in this instance, and additional 10-15 minutes or so could have done much to advance the story and develop the characters. Also starring Ione Skye and Brian Wimmer.

5 out of 10 stars.

More articles in this special “Halloween Twenty-Fifteen” column can be found here.

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